Times have changed. Now, even the smallest or most local of businesses need to use the internet to thrive in our modern economy. One of the first places you’ll likely be looked up to by your customers is Google. Google has reported before that 46% of their searches are related to local businesses or events. This means if your website or business doesn’t have information on Google, you could be missing out on a huge demographic in your own community! This shows why you need to list yourself using Google my Business.
Google my Business is a marketing tool provided by the company for free, which allows business owners and brands to manage how their information is displayed in both a Google Search and Google Maps. This listing shows your name, address, contact information, website like, as well as your hours of operation. You’ll need to verify your business data by creating your Google My Business profile, or by claiming an auto-generated profile. These listings also assist with local SEO strategies which allow customers to find information about your business and leave reviews and feedback in return. We’ve compiled a few other reasons your business needs to use this critical marketing tool, and how using it proficiently has a net positive for your business!
The biggest benefit of creating a GMB listing is that it improves your business’s overall web exposure. Google generates information for product searches by showing the first three listings as Google Adwords Advertisements, then showing a map with what is referred to as a ‘Local-3-pack”; Google’s most relevant results depending on your location and product data you provided. This allows customers in your immediate local area to be exposed to your business information; which will likely lead to increased site traffic and overall customer engagement. Its also recommended to include social media profiles on your website; as customers will feel more willing to follow you if you easily provide them a link.
GMB helps you with sharing information about your business, particularly your address, contact information, and your working hours. This last one is particularly important due to the COVID-19 pandemic and businesses being affected by curfews and modified hours. With GMB, these appear in your Google Search and Maps, allowing your customers to be updated in real-time with possible changes. On a lighter note, GMB also allows you to announce new products and services, or special events or contests for your business. This can help drive business to both your website and location. Try to compel customers to learn more, visit, and buy!
One recently added feature to GMB is a chat client and messenger. This allows customers to talk directly to you similar to Facebook, letting them get questions answered in real-time. This is good for a variety of customer queries and can help drive business to your location faster than most other methods. It’s recommended to not allow customers to share personal information over these chats, however.
GMB also hosts the reviews left by customers of your business on their app. This is a huge influencing factor for most customers when making a business decision, with a recent poll showing 90% of customers read online reviews before using the service of or visiting a local business. GMB allows customers to leave feedback that you can use to change and grow your business in more positive ways. If consumers can see you’re trustworthy and reliable, they’ll be much more willing to work with you in the long run. Reputation is critical for any business, but it can be the factor of if a local business fails or succeeds.
One primary way to promote your business is to get it on the front page of Google. You can typically do this by purchasing a Google Ads campaign, but you need the budget and some local businesses can’t afford this. The other way to get high in Google search results is to improve your SEO, but this can also take time to build your ranking. A GMB listing, therefore, is one of the fastest and cheapest ways to get exposure on the search engine. Verifying, claiming, and creating your listing is free and takes less time than optimizing a profile. The listing will put your business in front of many more potential customers, and it’ll give them easier access to directions, your website, your social media, contacts, and hours of operation. These are valuable resources not just for your customers, but vital information to the function of your business.
There are a few other bonuses to the world of GMB, but I think we’ve covered the basics here of why it is so important. Additionally, Google Analytics can provide you with information related to site traffic to your website; and when used in tandem with a GMB; it is a valuable tool.